[plt-scheme] Computers considered harmful

From: Stephen Bloch (sbloch at adelphi.edu)
Date: Wed May 6 21:58:48 EDT 2009

On May 6, 2009, at 6:40 PM, Raoul Duke wrote:
> i'll be contrary and say that i think having somebody learn
> programming through spreadsheets is actually something of a nice idea.
> i mean, if the spreadsheet thing really is motivation for them. sorta
> like if somebody learns to write code initially because they like
> modding video games. sure, their code might suck at first, but heck
> whose doesn't?

The last time I taught Computer Literacy, I tried to convey (little  
bits of) the HtDP design recipe in writing Excel formulae: for each  
formula, identify which other cells it depends on, and pick some  
examples of values that could go into those cells along with what  
result should appear in this cell.  Then write a formula referring to  
those cells, plug in the test values into the input cells, and see  
whether the answer matches what you said it should be.

It didn't work terrifically well, but I think it was better than  
having NO guidance in how to write Excel  formulae.

Then we went on to MS Access (sorry, all the software and textbooks  
had been ordered before I even heard I was teaching the course), and  
I tried to convey the notion of a record/struct with fields.

Stephen Bloch
sbloch at adelphi.edu

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